A lot can happen in 363 days. It’s kind of crazy to think of a year from that angle because it seems like so many days, and yet unlike early childhood, a year flies by like nothing. Still, a LOT can change in a year. (Yes, I know a year is 365 days, but I am two days short of the year-anniversary of making a major life-decision.)
On February 22nd 2015, I walked out the door of my old apartment and old roommate with my dog and my possessions, left the town we were living in, and never stepped foot in it again.
I don’t want this to be a negative blog entry. I don’t feel negatively at all, about anything really. That doesn’t mean that I don’t give the past a shifty-eye now and again, but I appreciate that all of the things I went through have finally turned around, life and karma have finally gotten around to realizing I deserved a break.
Good luck has been spilling into my life like rainbows out of a unicorn’s ass over this last year. This is something I have never previously experienced (I’m quite used to being shit on by said unicorns in a fashion far more foul than rainbows). I look around at my life right now; at my nice, downtown apartment, a job that pays me well enough to comfortably pay my bills etc and not need a roommate where I never have to stress when rent is due every month, and did I mention said job is doing something I LOVE, saving lives on a daily basis, and with the most caring, kind-hearted boss I could ever hope to imagine working for, not to mention co-workers that are considerate, respectful, and supportive. A few weeks ago I went to Vegas with seven other co-workers and my boss, it was technically a business trip so I paid for virtually nothing. How many people can say their bosses took them to Vegas on their dime? That’s one hundred times more appreciation than I could ever have hoped to imagine from a boss. I would have been satisfied with a quick, “You’re doing a good job, thanks for your hard work” once or twice a year, just a tiny reminder that I’m actually valued and appreciated. This amazing woman goes so far above and beyond that she has my loyalty one hundred fold, no questions asked.
Said co-workers have become my friends, I suppose it has to do with the nature of our job that naturally we have all become friends and go out for drinks together, and on vacations together. None of us re there just for the paycheck, we all care about this organization and truly believe in its goals and aspirations. We’re dedicated to our jobs because we are all living our passion. Not everyone can say that, and I certainly hadn’t foreseen ever being so lucky.
I’m not saying every aspect of my life is perfect. I as a human being (like all human beings) am flawed. Trust issues are something I have ALWAYS struggled with, and after what happened with my ex-roommate, my trust issues are worse than ever. I’m not solely blaming her, I know we are both at fault for how our friendship ended and the ways in which we ended up hurting each other, plus countless people have hurt me and betrayed me long before I ever met my most recent ex-roommate. But I’m just saying that I felt very betrayed (I know she did, too) and that was just one more source of pain to add to the large pile of times I’ve been hurt by others and the multitude of things in my life that have lead to my extreme trust issues.
Because of these trust issues, I don’t foresee the likelihood of myself ever living with another roommate, or even a potential future lover, ever again. The way I feel about things right now is that I have a good handle on my life, I have a lot of good things going for me in my life and why would I ever want to risk derailing that by taking a chance on letting another person past my walls and depending on them in ANY way, financially, emotionally, etc – when every time I do it ends badly? I have never had a positive experience with letting people in and giving them a wide-open opportunity to disappoint, hurt and betray me. Trust issues are kind of a downward spiral because when you don’t trust others, you are compulsively secretive and defensive, which in turn makes them not trust you either, and when there is not trust on both sides, it all goes downhill from there. When I walked out the door of my old apartment for the last time, I made a choice. I decided to stop the spiral forever.
I started by cutting out every single person in my life who was negative toward me in any way, and even people who weren’t directly negative toward me but were associated with someone else who was (and therefor could keep then and their negativity in my life by proxy) or anyone that even inadvertently triggered anything negative for me at all. It was sad at first for me to realize that after I cut out any and all negative people previously in my life, I had so few people left. With almost every single person in my life treating me with less respect than I deserved, no wonder I was so depressed!! That really woke me up, it made me realize and recognize that these people had hurt me continuously and potently because I was letting them do so.
I have been saying what I am about to say for years, but saying it is one thing and really believing it and living by it is another. I did not, and do not, deserve to be treated with anything less than respect, equality, and general compassion. I’m no special snowfkale, but I deserve to be respected like anyone and everyone else does. I deserve to be treated as an equal to any other human being.
For years, I almost constantly found myself in a position where I felt like like I had to defend myself against people who came out of left field swinging a bat at me. The most hurtful thing about that was that most of the time, I was getting attacked by people I had ever even spoken to or interacted with. They were attacking me because of trash one of their friends talked that was almost all untrue, or if not untrue, completely warped. It’s hurtful to be dismissed like that from strangers, to not be respected at all because someone doesn’t want to take a moment to stop and think about how they are treating this other human being with feelings just as real as their own.
I would also often make excuses for people I cared about when they either treated me poorly, or displayed negative behaviors toward others that made me uncomfortable. I would make these excuses to myself first and foremost. “Oh, they’re having a bad day.” “Just because they talk so negatively about this person when they’re not around doesn’t mean they talk negatively about me.”
Lesson #1 – If they talk poorly about someone else to you without any regard or respect for that person, they ARE talking about you without any regard or respect for you to others.
Lesson #2 – If they attack you because you tell them something they said or did made you uncomfortable, they are not your friend, period. Friends respect others, and I’m not saying people should walk on eggshells around each other because that’s not a healthy friendship either, but if someone doesn’t respect you enough to at least be willing to listen, they are NOT your friend.
Lesson #3 – If someone is constantly trying to make you feel guilty for being concerned about them or choices they make etc, they are not your friend. If they are projecting their problems on to you, they are not your friend. If they exploit your vulnerabilities, they are not your friend.
If I would have cut hurtful people out of my life cold turkey and walked away from them so many years ago, I can’t imagine all of the pain in life I could have avoided. But you can’t go back and change the past, you can only make choices in the present and create a better future for yourself.
I don’t know what to do about my trust issues, or if I should or need to do anything at all. I’m not unhappy. It’s weird to say that because I’ve been unhappy for so long that sometimes my current lack of misery makes me wonder if I’ve gone numb,and then I realize that it’s very sad that I have this automatic association with feelings things being ONLY negative. That’s not how life is supposed to be, at all. Just because I’m no longer fighting against others doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. Then I feel a bit resentful toward others for making me feel that way, and then again I have to remind myself that I ALLOWED others to make me feel that way, I have to remind myself to forgive myself for that, and then I bring myself back to the present and remind myself of how appreciative I am of the wonderful people currently in my life.
I’m not joyful joyful so grateful for life and this world, but I probably wouldn’t be me if I was. I’m sensitive. The bad things in this world make me sad, this world can be an ugly place for so many reasons and in so many ways. But I can say with honesty that I am at peace, I am content, I have a low stress level, I have a handle on my life, I don’t have to depend on anyone for anything and that’s such a freeing, comforting feeling. I have amazing friends who never push my buttons or my boundaries. They’re not only respectful to me, but to each other and to people that aren’t around. If they have a concern about anyone, they’re so careful with how they word things because even in moments of frustration, they never want to trash anyone. Hearing the way they talk about others makes me confident that they’re not saying anything negative about me behind my back. In fact – usually when I hear “gossip” its the opposite, I hear about people complimenting me and/or saying nice things about me. “He/she REALLY likes you.” “So and so REALLY respects you and values your opinions.” I almost think it’s sad how emotional I get when I hear nice things about myself that were said about me when I wasn’t even around, but I’m just not used to being respected for who I am, or treated with kindness.
I’m slowly adjusting to a life where I’m not waking up every morning to yet someone else putting me down, attacking me, or otherwise just being a jerk to or about me. I’m slowly realizing that I don’t have to defend every opinion, feeling and value I have.
The thing that I am most thankful for over the last year is that I didn’t have to change a single thing about who I am in order to finally find people that treat me with kindness, acceptance and respect. All I had to do was respect myself and stop allowing others the opportunity to drag me down.
The very last straw between my ex-roommate and I was on Valentine’s Day, 2015. She literally went into a screaming rage while I stood there blinking, nonreactive, baffled and so beyond frustrated with her, but if there’s anything I could say to her now, I would tell her thank you. I don’t even mean that in some snippy way, but in that moment while she was screaming, I just knew that I was done. I knew I had had enough, and that realization is what finally kicked me out of my depression and lead me to a better life. I sincerely hope she has a better life now, too. Some people just bring out the worst in each other, and I think maybe that’s what happened with us. We’re better off not in each others lives, and that’s okay.
I’m thankful to other people, too. I’m thankful to all the people that took advantage of me when I used to Podcast, because they linger in my mind but not in a harmful way. I think of all the things they said to and about me, all the ways in which they used me and the lengths they went through to manipulate, and I think to myself, they are a perfect example of the kind of person I never want to be, and the kind of “friends” I never want to allow in my life again.
And then, there’s J. a few weeks ago I heard something about her “facebook unfriending” someone just for knowing me, and then running to try and start drama about it with my ex-roommate. I hadn’t even thought of J in weeks before hearing that, and when I did hear about it, I thought to myself, “Wow, the lengths she goes through to avoid taking responsibility for the sinister things she put me through must be pretty exhausting and time-consuming. Stalking me still, putting me down, etc… I’d hate to live like that…” which brings me full circle back to being appreciative. I am literally appreciative of the multitude of flabbergastingly offensive lengths this girl went to in order to try and “bring me down” because, whether I’m right or wrong, a part of me truly believes that the amazing things in my life I have simply stumbled into this year is the work of karma trying to make up to me the unscrupulous amounts of pain that the thoughtless words and actions of others have caused me over the years. I may not have all of these wonderful things if it weren’t for people being hurtful toward me in general, but especially J. She was by far the most personally offensive bully I have ever encountered in my entire life, and with everything I’ve been through, that’s a pretty heavy thing to say. But ultimately I’m grateful for her because if she hadn’t worked so hard to dehumanize everything about me, maybe life wouldn’t have worked so hard over the last year to open doors for me and give me a concrete purpose. I suppose we’ll never know the truth of it, but I feel like karma is real. I feel like this girl and my good fortune are directly linked, that I wouldn’t have such great things in my life if someone hadn’t hurt me so much. So, thank you J. Thank you for being so intentionally awful toward me for so many years because I have people in my life now who not only accept me for exactly who I am, but they celebrate my autonomy, value me, my talents and my passions, lift me up and treat me with kindness and compassion. They treat me the polar opposite of how you did, and I’m not sure if they would be in my life if it weren’t for you. I truly believe that your direct attempts to constantly hurt and sabotage me are the very reason that life dropped amazing opportunities and people into my lap this last year. It is the most basic law of science after all. It’s the yin-yang, magnetism, and a bunch more things that basically boil down to the fact that you can’t have light without dark, day without night, negative without positive. I don’t hate you anymore. I hope someday you’re able to face and recognize how mean-spirited and hurtful your words and actions always were toward me, how offensive it was that you trivialized the abuse I suffered as a child, casually accused me of neglecting/abusing my dog and so much more “aimless trash talk” that you have literally no basis for whatsoever other than you just don’t like me and therefor you twist every aspect of me, every word I’ve said etc to try and justify your dislike for me. I’d like to tell you something. Whether or not you like a person, they still deserve respect. They still have just as many feelings as you do, and it hurts just as much when someone behaves or speaks thoughtlessly in regard to said feelings. You don’t have the right to place a value on others, to decide their feelings aren’t valid, or to pass judgement on them in any way. I viewed you as nothing but a sociopathic, inhuman monster for a very long time. I’ve grown to a point where I feel like there has to be some reason you behaved the way you did to me for so long, and it probably has nothing to do with me at all. Whatever pain is in your life, or your past, I am sorry for it. I hope you learn to face it someday so that you don’t take it out on others again, because as the target of your issues, I can tell you that you hurt me a great deal, in a large amount of ways. You made me feel worthless. You made me feel hopeless. You made me feel like every single time I reached for something that could potentially make me happy, you were there waiting and ready to stab me repeatedly until I bled out, completely on purpose and taking pleasure in your actions toward me. I used to be incredibly angry about that, but now I’m just sad. I’m sad for you more than for myself. I hope I’ve never made anyone else feel as badly as you made me feel, and I hope that if I have, I have taken responsibility for that and apologized. I hope someday you have enough emotional growth to take responsibility for how incredibly hurtful you were to me on a constant basis for years, but that’s on you, not on me. You’re the one that has to face your sins either in this life or the next, and I know that somehow, some way, life, God, whatever you want to call it – will ask you to answer for the pain that you have unapologetically caused me. I honestly believe in this world, everything comes back around. You can never run away from your sins. They will haunt you until you face them.
As for me and how I have finally put you and the pain you caused me behind me, all I have to do is appreciate and enjoy the fact that while life cannot force you to feel remorse for the hurt you’ve caused me, it can ensure that I have opportunities to rise above the ways you put me down. I’ve made my amends to the people I’ve hurt. Although I can’t change the past, I can sleep at night. Whether or not you can say the same, well, that’s up to you. I do wish you happiness, though, and I mean that with sincerity.
I have no idea what my future will hold. Maybe I will grow old exactly like I am now, helping to save animals lives and writing novels in a little cozy apartment with my pets. Maybe I will eventually find love with someone that breaks down my walls and helps me to trust, but I don’t want to count on that, nor do I want to feel like my life is incomplete or unfulfilled if that never happens. I do hope that eventually I can let down some of my walls and make more connections with people without the very idea of doing so triggering my anxiety and fears, but it’s not like I have no one in my life. By cutting out all of the negative people and having those walls, I’ve found people that make my life better. Maybe I just need time. I’m so grateful that my friends never push anything. They invite me for drinks or other things, and sometimes I say no because I just want to curl up with my pets and netflix, but sometimes I say yes. I enjoy spending time with them but I also really like my alone-time, too. I guess I’m an introvert at the end of the day, and that’s okay. They don’t get discouraged if I do say no to an invitation, they don’t take it personally. I think most of them are actually the same as me, the value their alone time as much as socializing so they understand. I think that if I keep living life the way I have been, I will continue to heal and that will continue to leave me open to positive things and positive people. As far as what the future may hold… at this point, only time will tell. And I’m okay with that because I feel peace and contentment with how my life is in the now. I’m not desperately clinging to or searching for something to make me feel happy. The peacefulness in my life is something I will never take for granted, or forget to appreciate. So to life and karma, I say – Thank you for overriding all of the negative things people said about me and tried to make me feel about myself. Thank you making a point to show me that I am worthy, valid, and a good enough person exactly as I am.